Leadership Notes #29 – 10 More Motions

(This series of “notes” first appeared in the YahooGroup “VenturingList” and are written by Michael Brown. I thought that they were worth sharing with the Commissioner Corps.)

[Toward the end of September, the National Association of Parliamentarians will be holding their National Convention. At this event, the new edition (11th) of “Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised” will be released. In honor of that, for this month, we will be focusing on parliamentary procedure. This is the fourth and last of the ‘motions’ sub-series]

Last Note, we covered 10 basic motions everyone should know. Now we have 10 “More Useful Motions to Know”, which are of several classes of motions, some are subsidiary and relate to the main motion, some are incidental and relate to the pending business in different ways, and some are motions which bring a question “again” before the assembly. Initially it is more important to focus on what is accomplished by the use of the motions listed.

1. CHANGE RULES OF DEBATE. Move to LIMIT or EXTEND LIMITS OF DEBATE. You can move to reduce (or increase) the number of speeches or the length of each speech or you can specify a time limit for debate on a pending main motion. Be aware this will require a 2/3rd vote! Standard is speaking twice on the same motion for 10 minutes each. You group (crew, voa) can change that across the board. This motion allows you to temporarily change this.

2. FORCE CONFORMITY TO AGENDA. Use the device, CALL FOR THE ORDERS OF THE DAY to require the return to the adopted program or order of business. This can be used if your meeting is getting off track.

3. URGENT PRIVILEGE. Use the device, RAISE A QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE, to interrupt pending business to make a request affecting the rights or privileges of the assembly (i.e to point out that the speaker cannot be heard, it’s too hot or too cold, or the like.)

4. SET UP AN ADJOURNED MEETING. Move to FIX THE TIME TO WHICH TO ADJOURN. The adoption of this motion does NOT adjourn the meeting, it really says that when we “adjourn”, we are really “adjourning to meet again at a specified place or time/day”. This is a very confusing motion! Think of it as a really really long recess of the meeting (to the next day usually), so that the meeting continues and you can conclude business. Usually only seen with organizations that have a multi-day legislative session at a convention.

5. DISAGREE WITH CHAIR’S RULING. Move to APPEAL from the decision of the chair (must be made immediately after the chair’s ruling on a POINT OF ORDER).

6. IN DOUBT ABOUT A VOTE? Call for a DIVISION OF THE ASSEMBLY (you can just call out “DIVISION!”) when a voice vote seems inconclusive (and the chair doesn’t do this); it is a demand for a rising vote (no vote is required on this call).

7. TEMPORARILY CHANGE RULES. Move to SUSPEND THE RULES if something needs to be done and it’s not in accordance with the regular rules of procedure. (NOTE: Bylaws cannot be suspended!!!)

8. FIRE A COMMITTEE. Move to DISCHARGE A COMMITTEE when a committee has failed to carry out its duties or when it is desired to return a matter back to the assembly. Typically only done with Special/Ad Hoc committees.

9. CANCEL OR REPEAL A PRIOR ACTION. Move to RESCIND if you want to strike out, change, cancel, or countermand a previous action or order adopted any time in the past.

10. REVERSE A VOTE OR CHANGE ADOPTED MOTION. Move to RECONSIDER the vote on the previously adopted motion. The purpose is to permit correction of an erroneous action or to take into account new information.

Again, see the second Note on motions for more info on resources.

[this note is based on work by the Plantation Unit of Parliamentarians]